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why whitespace counts as a node?

When parsed, why is whitespace counted as a node?  It might just be my 
Java bias, but I would greatly prefer the idea of a Tree mapping 1-1 to 
XML.  However, with whitespace counting, then the resulting XML text file 
all mushed together.  

At least that's my understanding.  When parsing XML the parser must 
determine whether or not interpret whitespace as a node or not, so that 
different parsers will give different results.  Shouldn't the goal be for 
their to be a single correct representation for a given document?  So 
long as whitespace counts, then it depends upon the parser to either 
include or not include the whitespace.

Is the choice to have whitespace count perceived of as design flaw, or 
does it server a purpose?


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